Two out of three regional banks making up Crédit Mutuel Arkéa, part of France’s fifth-biggest lender, have voted in favour of their management studying ways to break away from their parent group of co-operative banks.
The vote by the boards of regional banks follows long-running dispute that has become a headache for regulators.
The parent group, Groupe Credit Mutuel, has undertaken a reform of its organisation to keep it in line with regulatory requirements.
Credit Mutuel Arkea, which comprises regional banks in western and central France, and online bank Fortuneo have opposed the reform, which would make the governance and strategy-setting more centralised.
Related: Clash at France’s co-op bank heats up as regional group votes for autonomy
“The board of directors gave a mandate to management to take any action allowing Crédit Mutuel Arkéa to become an independent,
co-operative group, totally separate from the rest of Crédit Mutuel,” the company said in a statement.
Crédit Mutuel Arkéa had €120.4bn in assets as of end 2016, while the parent group’s balance sheet overall stood at €793.5bn.
Groupe Crédit Mutuel is France’s fifth-largest bank by assets and had a 17.1% market share in deposits in 2016.
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